Back to Basics Presenter Spotlight – Chris Glassmann
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There are 45 workshops at this year’s Back to Basics and over 50 vendors in the giant vendor fair. A lot of these focus on food, nutrition, and making meal time a better expereience for participants. I pulled one of the presenters aside to talk on what he’s excited to talk about.
Chris Glassmann (who also works as the campus chef here at HDT), will be doing a workshop titled How to Use Those Weird Fruits and Veggies. He wants to focus on making his workshop attendees more comfortable in the kitchen using the produce that is less popular than more other produce.
Chris G. in his habitat
I got a chance to pick his brain.
CM: The Midwest has gotten along pretty well with dinners made primarily from “meat and potatoes”; it’s pretty brash, wouldn’t you say, to start introducing other more unique veggies?
Chris Glassmann: Local grocery stores, markets, are bringing in different fruits and veggies into their produce section because they hear that people are interested in trying them. But, what’s happening, is that people that go into the market look at that odd looking fruit and walk on by because even if they wanted to buy it and take it home, they still don’t know how to make a meal with it. My hope is to make a difference for not only the people eating the new type of produce, but for the markets that have taken the leap away from “meat and potatoes” basics. There’s room for both!
CM: You’re saying the Scandawhovians that live up here should be willing to try the odd stuff?
CG: Absolutely. Especially when you put into consideration the carbon footprint it took for get those odd fruits and veggies up here. If the market puts in an order for dragon fruit and no one takes the gamble, then it’s even worse when you add on top the fossil fuels it took to transport the fruit to Onamia, or wherever. But, for the market to get gun shy towards purchasing the different fruit, it would be a shame, because there’s so many fun things to eat beside meat and potatoes.
CM: I guess that leads into the next question of how comfortable are you with experimenting in the kitchen. If you take that leap, you must have a comfort level with many different cooking techniques. I know I’ve been impressed with the variety in the HUG kitchen and that doesn’t just happen by reading a cookbook one day. You’ve been doing this a while. Could you talk about why you try new things?
CG: *He laughs* When I left my home and went to college as a teenager, I didn’t want to rely on Spaghetti-os for the rest of my life. I tried different things and I found that when meeting new people, cooking and baking was a conversation starter. You can always find a common thread there. So, I’ve always been interested in looking for a different way to make food.
CM: Which was a bit fortuitous, I hear.
Chris works with many different ingredients at the HDT kitchen.
CG: It was! Over the years, my wife and boys have discovered that they are allergic to many different things, each. So, I’ve been the guy who juggles these different diets and to make it less redundant I’ve relied on finding different foods to keep everyone happy in the house. This variety has transferred over to the HDT kitchen.
CM: It has! We were all impressed by the three different types of squash offered for lunch one day. They were all different, but all delicious. But, you’ve got an arsenal of recipes you offer to guests, I’m sure. What dish do you reuse every time when you’ve got to show off?
CG: A signature dish? Hmmm…I guess it would be my crab dip. I helped open up the Nisswa Grille. I used my crab dip on their opening menu as an appetizer and when they pulled it off to try new things, people kept asking for it back! They loved it so much.
CM: Sounds good!
CG: Yeah, people keep asking me to make it at get togethers. I love it.
CM: For those that are looking at those strange veggies in the market, do you have any words of wisdom?
CG: Find that adventure! Often times, an adventure can be had just for the cost of the grocery price tag. You’ll have fun learning about the new veggie and you’ll expand your tastes. You’ll know more about what you do like and what you need to steer clear from. There’s no loss in trying new things, only an adventure.